this venus was considered the epitome of beauty. louis xiv made a copy, napoleon stole it, and in the 19th century, young aristocrats on the grand tour stood right here and swooned. in the renaissance, as in the ancient world, people saw the glory of god in the beauty, order, and harmony of the human body, god's greatest creation. classical statues like this clearly inspired sandro botticelli. for me, his birth of venus is the uffizi's purest expression of renaissance beauty. the goddess of love, born from the foam of a wave, is just waking up. botticelli combines the beauty of nature and the human body. the hands, wings, and robe mingle with the wind. with venus' flyaway hair, the airy spaciousness of the distant horizon, and the flowers, caught at the peak of their beauty, tumbling in slow motion, the world itself seems fresh and newborn.